The Calcutta High Court on Monday ordered Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Abhishek Banerjee not to proceed with his plans to "gherao" the residences of all Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in West Bengal as the same would affect the public at large [Suvendu Adhikari vs State of West Bengal]. .A division bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya said that while political opponents like the TMC and the BJP may fight their political battles, they should not to unnecessarily involve the public in the same. "We understand it is a political arena, a political battle, you fight it out at a proper platform. You do all your political exercises, but please leave the public aside. Let people go to office, let lawyers come to courts and argue for innocent litigants. So many bail, anticipatory bail matters and you want to freeze the entire situation," Chief Justice Sivagnanam orally observed. The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by BJP leader and State's Leader of Opposition (LoP) Suvendu Adhikari..The Court further took exception to the State’s reluctance to halt the gherao on assurances that the general public would not be affected by the protest.“If suppose 2,000 persons gherao a place, do you say no public will be affected?” the Court asked Advocate General SN Mookherjee, who appeared for the State.The Court also expressed its objection to the fact that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also made statements on the proposed gherao while urging party workers to ensure that the protests remain peaceful and to stay at least 100 metres away from the homes of BJP leaders who are gherao-d."What are these statements? They are impermissible. And the same are affirmed by a person holding a Constitutional office (Chief Minister), so it presupposes that the event is already planned. Such statements coming from people holding constitutional offices. Do you say such statements can be brushed aside? This is unheard of," the Chief Justice remarked. .The Court was also unconvinced by assurances made by the advocate appearing for Abhishek Banerjee, who sought to intervene and justify the protest. He assured the bench that no public hindrance would be caused as his client has already urged his party workers not to resort to violence at any cost.The Court, however, remained unimpressed."We cannot believe the stand of Mr Banerjee that no hindrance would be caused to the general public. Therefore, we restrain him and all the concerned from conducting any such gherao protest anywhere in the State on August 5," the bench ordered. .Adhikari petitioned the Court on the issue after apprehending large scale violence on August 5. During the hearing, the Court took critical note of "speeches" made by Abhishek Banerjee at an event held on July 21, when he urged his party workers to prepare a list of all BJP leaders in the State so that the TMC party can "gherao" the residences of those politicians on August 5 from 10 in the morning till 6 in the evening. Banerjee had also instructed his party workers not to resort to any kind of violence, or to get provoked. He had added that old and ill-persons living in the houses of these BJP leaders should be allowed to go out of the house..Senior Advocate Paramjit Patwalia, appearing for Adhikari, contended that the "gherao" might lead to law and order situation in the State as roughly 341 BJP leaders are likely to be facing the protest. After hearing these submissions, the bench asked the Advocate General whether the State had granted any prior permission for the said protests. To this, the Advocate General replied in the negative.The AG, however, added that the organisers of the gherao protest have given a statement that they are not holding any rally and would only be peacefully gheraoing the homes of some leaders. He added that public movement would not be disturbed by the proposed protests. .Irked over the submission, Chief Justice said, "What if someone declare that it will gherao entire High Court premises. Will the State not be worried about this? Won't you take cognizance of this? Mr. AG, the bottom-line is that you (State) aren't concerned about the public. You aren't concerned about the office- goers. Might is right.”.The Chief Justice further questioned why the Advocate General would not concede that such exercises cannot be conducted.“This (Gherao) should not be held at all. Forget who is the complainant, but this is going beyond the limits. The general public cannot be made to suffer. Such action by any section of the society affects the public,” the Chief Justice added.Although it put the gherao protest on hold, the Court also ordered the respondent parties to file their replies. With this, the Court adjourned the hearing by 10 days.